Many people are aware of the unusual ritual of the Mormon Church in the practice of “proxy baptism.” This is the notion that someone now living can be baptized on behalf of someone else who has long been dead. This idea, with due respect to our sincere “Latter-day Saint” friends, is wholly adverse to the teaching of the Scriptures. The LDS doctrine contradicts many elements of Bible truth.Consider the following.
The Scriptures teach:
- Obedience is personal; not representative, and judgment will be on that basis (2 Corinthians 5:10). One can no more be baptized on behalf of another than he can “believe in Christ” or “repent of sin” on behalf of someone else.
- Neither disobedience nor obedience is transferable from one party to another. Read carefully Ezekiel 18:20, and note that neither sin nor righteousness is passed from one person to another; rather, each individual is responsible for his own conduct — be it bad or good.
- The passage in 1 Corinthians 15:29, employed by the Mormons as a proof-text, does not support the LDS practice. Rather, it constitutes an ad hominem argument (an argument highlighting an opponent’s inconsistency) against some in the Corinthian church who denied the future resurrection of the body (15:12). If there is to be no resurrection, why practice a baptism of the body — a body which, according to the Corinthian aberration, is destined for extinction? For a more thorough discussion of this text, see “Mormon Doctrine: Baptism for the Dead” and “Baptism for the Dead: Revisited”.
In view of this, I want to reproduce an article that recently appeared in the popular news journal, USA Today (April 13, p. 7D).
“Jewish and Mormon leaders have agreed to jointly scrutinize a Mormon database that includes the names of thousands of deceased Jews, including Holocaust victims, who were posthumously baptized into the Mormon church — the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A committee with members of both religions will study how names get into the International Genealogical Index, which has an estimated 4 million entries.Mormons believe that proxy or vicarious baptism is required for deceased non-Mormons to reach heaven.After Jewish leaders initially protested the inclusion of Holocaust victims in the index, the two sides signed an agreement in 1995 removing the names of about 380,000 Holocaust victims from the list and halting further proxy baptism of Holocaust victims, celebrities or people who are not relatives of those seeking the baptism.Mormon officials said this week the agreement didn’t guarantee proxy baptisms for deceased Jews would never occur.”
Several observations are in order.
- If the Mormons really believe that the salvation of millions of dead people is dependent upon what they do (i.e., submitting to many baptisms on behalf of others), why on earth would they mutually sign a contract with the Jews not to practice “proxy baptism” on behalf of victims of the Holocaust? Is Bible truth on the “trading block,” so that it may be bargained away because someone is upset over a matter?
- What does it now mean — that many of the Jewish names have been removed from the Mormon database? Does this suggest that their names are removed henceforth from the “book of life” — as they perceive the matter? Can one’s genuine “salvation” be nullified by another’s post-mortem protest? If that were the case, the effect of Christ’s death would have been made void centuries ago, for the Jews have protested the significance of that event ever since it occurred!
- And what of the Mormon statement that the signing of the “truce” did not actually “guarantee proxy baptisms for deceased Jews would never occur.”That sounds like the Mormon signatories had their “fingers crossed” behind their backs as they, supposedly in good faith, signed the document with the other hand! “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when once we practice to deceive.”
The truth of the matter is, as they have done so often in the past (e.g., in the cases of polygamy, and the alleged spiritual status of black people), Mormons have shown once again that their convictions are negotiable to the loudest complainers!